The Department for Education describes a young runaway as ‘a child or young person up to the age of 18 who has run away from their home or care placement, or feels they have been forced to leave, or whose whereabouts is unknown’.
In November 2013 Suffolk Police introduced the new definition of ‘missing’ in line with ACPO guidance:
Missing: Anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established, and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be a subject of crime or at risk of harm to themselves or others.
Missing People - Safe Call Service
The Safe Call team provides a debrief service to children and young people who have recently been missing and have potentially come into contact with gangs or involved in county lines.
Missing People provide a free confidential service to children and young people who may have been involved in gangs or county lines and have regular missing episodes. They accept self-referrals from children and young people and referrals from external professionals and agencies (police, social services, schools, charities, youth organisations etc). They work closely with children, young people and their parents/carers to ensure that the risk of exploitation is minimised and ensure that information is shared between social workers, youth workers and other services that they may be receiving support from.
Their main objective is to provide a confidential child led service, drawing up safety plans to minimise future exploitation and reduce the risks of missing episodes reoccurring. Their values are to offer a non-judgemental service to ensure that children/young people have a safe space to talk about their experiences in confidence. They also support the families and carers of those who have missing episodes; providing them with emotional support and guidance.
The operating hours for the Safe Call team are Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm and they also have a free 24 hour helpline which is available should support be needed out of hours.
If you have any children or young people you would like to refer, you can complete the online form or you can send an email to the Safe Call team with the name of the young person, DOB, telephone numbers and reason for referral with any concerns highlighted.
SafeCall Telephone: 020 8392 5710 SafeCall
24/7 Helpline: 116 000
24/7 Helpline E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about Children Missing from Education, please see our Education page